oversight

Chemical Weapons and Materiel: Key Factors Affecting Disposal Costs and Schedule

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-03-11.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                          United States General Accounting Office

GAO                       Testimony
                          Before the Subcommittee on Military Procurement,
                          Committee on National Security, House of Representative




For Release on Delivery
Expected at
10:00 a.m., EDT
                          CHEMICAL WEAPONS
Tuesday,
March 11, 1997            AND MATERIEL

                          Key Factors Affecting
                          Disposal Costs and
                          Schedule
                          Statement of Henry L. Hinton, Jr., Assistant Comptroller
                          General, National Security and International Affairs
                          Division




GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                   Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

                   I am pleased to be here today to discuss our work concerning the
                   Department of Defense’s (DOD) management of the programs for
                   destroying the U.S. stockpile of chemical munitions and planning for the
                   disposal of nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel. Since 1988, the
                   Congress has appropriated $4.2 billion for the disposal programs, and DOD
                   estimates that $23.4 billion more will be needed to complete them.1 The
                   Army is working to complete the stockpile program by the congressionally
                   mandated date of December 31, 2004, and estimates that the nonstockpile
                   program will take nearly 40 years to complete. Appendix I provides
                   appropriation and expenditure data for the programs for fiscal years 1988
                   through 1997. Appendix II provides estimated funding data for the
                   programs for fiscal years 1998 through 2005.

                   Since 1990, we have issued a number of reports addressing opportunities
                   to improve various aspects of these disposal programs. In February 1997,
                   we issued a report that discussed the key factors affecting the costs and
                   schedules for the chemical weapons and related materiel disposal
                   programs.2 As requested, my statement today provides an overview of our
                   February report and includes a discussion of the chemical stockpile and
                   nonstockpile program, actions the Army has taken to improve the
                   programs, and alternatives to the current approach.


                   While there is general agreement about the need to destroy the chemical
Results in Brief   stockpile and related materiel, progress has slowed due to the lack of
                   consensus among DOD and affected states and localities about the
                   destruction method that should be used. As a result, the costs and
                   schedules for the disposal programs are uncertain. However, they will cost
                   more than the estimated $23.4 billion above current appropriations and
                   take longer than currently planned. The key factors affecting the programs
                   include the public concerns about the safety of incineration, the
                   environmental process, the legislative requirements, and the introduction
                   of alternative disposal technologies.




                   1
                    The programs’ combined life-cycle cost estimate is $27.6 billion. This amount includes $12.4 billion for
                   the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program and $15.2 billion for the Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel
                   Program.
                   2
                    Chemical Weapons and Materiel: Key Factors Affecting Disposal Costs and Schedule
                   (GAO/NSIAD-97-18, Feb. 10, 1997).



                   Page 1                                                                          GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
The Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program’s cost and schedule are largely
driven by the degree to which states and local communities are in
agreement with the proposed disposal method at the remaining stockpile
sites. Based on program experience, reaching agreement has consistently
taken longer than the Army anticipated. For example, the Army has
consistently underestimated the time required to obtain environmental
permits for the disposal facilities. Until DOD and the affected states and
localities reach agreement on a disposal method for the remaining
stockpile sites, the Army will not be able to predict the Chemical Stockpile
Disposal Program’s cost and schedule with any degree of accuracy.

Moreover, many of the problems experienced in the stockpile program are
also likely to affect the Army’s ability to implement the Nonstockpile
Chemical Materiel Program. For example, efforts to dispose of
nonstockpile materiel are likely to be driven by the need to obtain state
and local approvals for destruction methods. In addition, more time is
needed for the Army to prove that its proposed disposal method for the
nonstockpile program will be safe and effective and accepted by the
affected states and localities.

Notwithstanding these issues, DOD and the Army have taken actions in
response to congressional direction and our recommendations to improve
program management. In December 1994, DOD designated the Army’s
chemical demilitarization program, consisting of both stockpile and
nonstockpile munitions and materiel, as a major defense acquisition
program. The objectives of the designation were to stabilize the disposal
schedules, control costs, and provide more discipline and higher levels of
program oversight. In addition, Army officials have identified
cost-reduction initiatives, which are in various stages of assessment, that
could reduce program costs by $673 million.

Recognizing the difficulty of satisfactorily resolving the public concerns
associated with each individual disposal location, suggestions have been
made by members of the Congress, DOD officials, and others to change the
programs’ basic approach to destruction. However, the suggestions create
trade-offs for decisionmakers and would require changes in existing legal
requirements. These suggestions have included deferring plans for
additional disposal facilities until an acceptable alternative technology to
incineration is developed, consolidating disposal operations at a national
site or regional sites, destroying selected nonstockpile chemical warfare
materiel in stockpile disposal facilities, establishing a centralized disposal




Page 2                                                      GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                          facility for nonstockpile materiel, and modifying laws and regulations to
                          standardize environmental requirements.


                          In 1985, the Congress passed Public Law 99-145 directing the Army to
Background                destroy the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical agents and munitions. The
                          stockpile consists of rockets, bombs, projectiles, spray tanks, and bulk
                          containers, which contain nerve and mustard agents. It is stored at eight
                          sites in the continental United States and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific
                          Ocean. Appendix III identifies the locations of the chemical stockpile
                          storage sites. To comply with congressional direction, the Army
                          established the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program and developed a
                          plan to incinerate the agents and munitions on site in specially designed
                          facilities. In 1988, the Army established the Chemical Stockpile Emergency
                          Preparedness Project (CSEPP) to help communities near the chemical
                          stockpile storage sites enhance existing emergency management and
                          response capabilities in the unlikely event of a chemical stockpile
                          accident.

                          Recognizing that the stockpile program did not include all chemical
                          warfare materiel requiring disposal, the Congress directed the Army in
                          1992 to plan for the disposal of materiel not included in the stockpile. This
                          materiel, some of which dates back to World War I, consists of binary
                          chemical weapons, miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel, recovered
                          chemical weapons, former production facilities, and buried chemical
                          warfare materiel.3 Appendix IV identifies the storage locations for the
                          nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel. In 1992, the Army established the
                          Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program to dispose of the materiel.

                          Appendix V provides a chronology of the Army’s chemical disposal
                          programs.


Potential Impact of the   In 1993, the United States signed the U.N.-sponsored Chemical Weapons
Chemical Weapons          Convention. In October 1996, the 65th nation ratified the convention
Convention                making the treaty effective on April 29, 1997.4 If the U.S. Senate approves



                          3
                           Binary weapons are formed from two nonlethal elements through a chemical reaction after the
                          munitions are fired or launched. The weapons were manufactured, stored, and transported with only
                          one of the chemical elements in the weapon. The second element was to be loaded into the weapon at
                          the battlefield.
                          4
                           The convention becomes effective 180 days after the 65th nation ratified the treaty.



                          Page 3                                                                          GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                           the convention, it could affect implementation of the disposal programs.5
                           Through ratification, the United States will agree to dispose of its
                           (1) unitary chemical weapons stockpile, binary chemical weapons,
                           recovered chemical weapons, and former chemical weapon production
                           facilities by April 29, 2007, and (2) miscellaneous chemical warfare
                           materiel by April 29, 2002. If a country is unable to maintain the
                           convention’s disposal schedule, the convention’s Organization for the
                           Prohibition of Chemical Weapons may grant a one-time extension of up to
                           5 years. Under the terms of the convention, chemical warfare materiel
                           buried before 1977 is exempt from disposal as long as it remains buried.
                           Should the United States choose to excavate the sites and remove the
                           chemical materiel, the provisions of the convention would apply. The
                           Senate has not approved the convention, however, the United States is
                           committed by public law to destroying its chemical stockpile and related
                           warfare materiel.


Our Prior Reports Noted    In prior reports, we expressed concern about the Army’s lack of progress
Cost and Schedule Issues   and the rising cost of the disposal programs. Appendix VI provides a listing
                           of our products related to these programs. In 1991, we reported that
                           continued problems in the program indicated that increased costs and
                           additional time to destroy the chemical stockpile should be expected. We
                           recommended that the Army determine whether faster and less costly
                           technologies were available to destroy the stockpile.6 In a 1995 report on
                           the nonstockpile program, we concluded that the Army’s plans for
                           disposing of nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel were not final and, as
                           a result, its cost estimate was likely to change.7 In July 1995, we testified
                           before this subcommittee that the Army had experienced significant cost
                           growth and delays in executing its stockpile disposal program and that
                           further cost growth and schedule slippages could occur.8 In 1996, we
                           reported that efforts to enhance emergency preparedness is Alabama had
                           been hampered by management weaknesses in CSEPP.9


                           5
                            Under the U.S. Constitution, treaties must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
                           6
                           Chemical Weapons: Stockpile Destruction Cost Growth and Schedule Slippages Are Likely to
                           Continue (GAO/NSIAD-92-18, Nov. 20, 1991).
                           7
                            Chemical Weapons Disposal: Plans for Nonstockpile Chemical Warfare Materiel Can Be Improved
                           (GAO/NSIAD-95-55, Dec. 20, 1994).
                           8
                            Chemical Weapons Disposal: Issues Related to DOD’s Management (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-185, July 13,
                           1995).
                           9
                           Chemical Weapons Stockpile: Emergency Preparedness in Alabama Is Hampered by Management
                           Weaknesses (GAO/NSIAD-96-150, July 23, 1996).



                           Page 4                                                                         GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                           The stockpile program will likely exceed its $12.4 billion estimate and take
Stockpile Program’s        longer than the legislative completion date of December 2004.10 This is
Cost and Schedule          because reaching agreement on site-specific disposal methods has
Are Uncertain but Will     consistently taken longer than the Army anticipated. Public concerns
                           about the safety of incineration have (1) resulted in additional
Exceed Current             environmental requirements, (2) slowed the permitting of new
Estimates                  incinerators, and (3) required the Army to research disposal alternatives.

                           Approximately $1 billion of the estimated $12.4 billion is associated with
                           CSEPP.The cost estimate for CSEPP has increased because of delays in the
                           stockpile program and longstanding management weaknesses. These
                           weaknesses have also slowed the program’s progress in enhancing
                           emergency preparedness.


Cost Growth and Schedule   Since 1985, the Army’s cost estimate for the stockpile disposal program
Slippages                  has increased seven-fold, from an initial estimate of $1.7 billion to
                           $12.4 billion, and the planned completion date has been delayed from 1994
                           to 2004. Although the Army is committed to destroying the stockpile by the
                           legislatively imposed deadline of December 31, 2004, it is unlikely to meet
                           that date. Only two of the nine planned disposal facilities are built and
                           operating, 4 percent of the stockpile has been destroyed, and
                           environmental permitting issues at the individual sites continue to delay
                           construction of the remaining facilities. For example, since the Army
                           developed the most recent cost and schedule estimate in February 1996,
                           the plant construction schedule has slipped by 6 months at the Anniston
                           Army Depot, 9 months at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, 10 months at the Pueblo
                           Depot Activity, and 4 months at the Umatilla Depot Activity.


Reaching Agreement on      Predicting the disposal schedule for the various sites is difficult. According
Environmental Issues Has   to Army officials, this is partly due to the uncertainty of the time required
Been a Lengthy Process     to satisfy changing environmental requirements. For example, although
                           based on federal requirements, individual state environmental
                           requirements differ and are occasionally changed. In most cases, these
                           changes have added unanticipated requirements, resulting in the need for
                           additional data collection, research, and reporting by the Army.

                           In addition, according to the Army, the original scope of the health risk
                           assessment to operate the disposal facilities was not completely defined,

                           10
                             Through fiscal year 1997, the Congress has appropriated $4 billion and the Army estimates that it will
                           require $8.4 billion to complete the program.



                           Page 5                                                                          GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                            the health assessment requirements have changed, and the requirements
                            currently vary from state to state. According to DOD officials, states have
                            modified the requirements of their health risk assessments well into the
                            process, delaying the development of the final assessment document.

                            Based on program experience, the Army’s 1996 schedule does not provide
                            sufficient time for the Army to complete the environmental approval
                            process.11 As a result, program delays past the mandated completion date
                            of December 2004 are likely. For example, the schedule for the Anniston
                            disposal facility includes a grace period of a month for any slippage in the
                            construction, systemization, or operation to meet the legislative
                            completion date of December 31, 2004. Although the Army estimated that
                            the permit would have been issued by the end of September 1996, Alabama
                            regulatory officials expect the permit to be issued in June or July 1997—a
                            slippage of about 8 months in the schedule. This slippage will cause
                            disposal operations at Anniston to extend to the middle of 2005.


Considering Alternative     In the 1993 National Defense Authorization Act, the Congress directed the
Technologies Has Affected   Army to report on potential technological alternatives to incineration.
Disposal Cost and           Consequently, in August 1994, the Army initiated a program to investigate,
                            develop, and support testing of alternative disposal technologies for the
Schedule                    two bulk-only stockpile sites—Aberdeen Proving Ground and Newport
                            Chemical Activity. According to the National Research Council, the Army
                            has successfully involved the state and the public in its alternative
                            technology project for the two bulk-only stockpile sites, demonstrating the
                            importance of public involvement to the progress of a program.12 The
                            development of alternative disposal technologies for assembled chemical
                            munitions provides the Army the mechanism for encouraging public
                            involvement and establishing common objectives for the remaining
                            disposal sites.

                            In the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act, the Congress directed DOD
                            to assess alternative technologies for the disposal of assembled chemical
                            munitions. The act also directed the Secretary of Defense to report on the
                            assessment by December 31, 1997. Similarly, the 1997 DOD Appropriations
                            Act provided $40 million to conduct a pilot program to identify and
                            demonstrate two or more alternatives to the baseline incineration process

                            11
                               Department of Defense’s Interim Status Assessment for the Chemical Demilitarization Program, DOD
                            (Apr. 15, 1996).
                            12
                               Public Involvement and the Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program, National Research Council
                            (Oct. 25, 1996).



                            Page 6                                                                      GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                         for the disposal of assembled chemical munitions. The act also prohibited
                         DOD from obligating any funds for constructing disposal facilities at the
                         Blue Grass Army Depot and Pueblo Depot Activity, until 180 days after the
                         Secretary reports on the alternatives. Although the prohibition applies
                         only to Blue Grass and Pueblo, public concerns about incineration may
                         prompt state regulators at other locations to delay their final decisions to
                         permit incinerators until the Secretary reports his findings.


Management Weaknesses    The Army’s and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) joint
and Disagreements Have   management of CSEPP has not been effective in controlling the growth in
Slowed the Progress of   program costs and achieving timely results. The Army’s current life-cycle
                         cost estimate of $1.03 billion for the program has increased by 800 percent
CSEPP                    over the initial estimate of $114 million in 1988. The primary reasons for
                         the cost increase are the 10-year slippage in the completion of the
                         Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program and financial management
                         weaknesses. Program management weaknesses have also contributed to
                         the increase and resulted in slow progress in enhancing emergency
                         preparedness in the 10 states and local communities near the chemical
                         stockpile storage sites. Nine years after CSEPP’s inception, states and local
                         communities still lack critical items for responding to a chemical stockpile
                         emergency, including alert and notification systems, decontamination
                         units, and personal protection equipment.

                         Although the Army has responded to this criticism and taken actions in
                         response to congressional direction to improve program management, the
                         completion of these actions has been delayed by disagreements between
                         Army and FEMA officials. For example, the Army is still working to respond
                         to direction in the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act to report on
                         the implementation and success of CSEPP Integrated Process Teams.13
                         Because of this and other differences regarding their roles and
                         responsibilities, Army and FEMA officials have not reached agreement on a
                         long term management structure for CSEPP.




                         13
                          In the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 104-201), the Congress directed the
                         Secretary of the Army to submit a report within 120 days of the act’s enactment that assessed the
                         implementation and success of the site-specific Integrated Process Teams.



                         Page 7                                                                         GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                             Through fiscal year 1997 the Congress has appropriated $221 million for
Nonstockpile                 the nonstockpile program. The Army estimates that it will require an
Program’s Cost and           additional $15 billion and nearly 40 years to complete the program.
Schedule Are Also            However, given the factors driving the program, it is uncertain how long
                             the program will take or cost. The program is driven by the uncertainties
Uncertain                    surrounding buried chemical warfare materiel and unproven disposal
                             methods.


Buried Materiel Will Drive   The Army estimates that it can dispose of binary weapons, recovered
Cost but Little Is Known     chemical weapons, former production facilities, and miscellaneous
About Them                   chemical warfare materiel within the time frames established by the
                             Chemical Weapons Convention. Under the terms of the convention,
                             chemical warfare materiel buried before 1977 is exempt from disposal as
                             long as it remains buried. Although the Army estimates that buried
                             chemical materiel accounts for $14.5 billion (95 percent) of the
                             nonstockpile program cost, the Army is still exploring potential sites and
                             has little and often imprecise information about the type and amount of
                             materiel buried. Appendix VII identifies the potential locations with buried
                             chemical warfare materiel. The Army estimated that it will take until 2033
                             to identify, recover, and dispose of buried nonstockpile materiel.


                             Although Army officials are confident that the proposed disposal systems
Proposed Disposal            will function as planned, the Army needs more time to prove that the
Systems Are Not Yet          systems will safely and effectively destroy all nonstockpile materiel and be
Proven Effective and         accepted by the affected states and communities. The Army’s disposal
                             concept is based on developing mobile systems capable of moving from
Acceptable by the            one location to the next where the munitions are remotely detoxified and
Public                       the waste is transported to a commercial hazardous waste facility.
                             Although the systems may operate in a semi-fixed mode, they are
                             scheduled to be available for mobile use at recovered and burial sites after
                             1998.


                             Environmental issues similar to those experienced in the stockpile
Environmental Issues         program are also likely to affect the Army’s ability to obtain the
Will Also Affect Cost        environmental approvals and permits that virtually all nonstockpile
and Schedule                 activities require. Whether the systems are allowed to operate at a
                             particular location will depend on the state regulatory agency with
                             authority over the disposal operations. In addition, public acceptance or




                             Page 8                                                    GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                       rejection of the mobile systems will affect their transportation plans and
                       disposal operations.


                       DOD and the Army have taken a number of steps to respond to
Actions the Army Has   congressional direction and independent reviews and improve their
Taken to Improve the   management and oversight of the stockpile and nonstockpile programs.
Disposal Programs      These steps have included efforts to improve coordination with the public
                       through an enhanced public outreach program, increase public
                       involvement in the alternative technology program for the two bulk-only
                       stockpile sites, and establish a joint CSEPP Army/FEMA team to coordinate
                       and implement emergency preparedness activities.

                       In December 1994, DOD designated the Army’s chemical demilitarization
                       program, consisting of both stockpile and nonstockpile munitions and
                       materiel, as a major defense acquisition program. The objectives of the
                       designation were to stabilize the disposal schedules, control costs, and
                       provide more discipline and higher levels of program oversight.14

                       In response to our recommendations and similar ones by the National
                       Research Council, the Army initiated the Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance
                       Program in 1995 to improve its monitoring and inspection of chemical
                       munitions. On the basis of those activities, the Army estimates that the
                       stockpile will be reasonably stable through 2013.

                       The Army’s review of the stockpile disposal program has identified several
                       promising cost-reduction initiatives, but the Army cannot implement some
                       of the more significant initiatives without the cooperation and approval of
                       state regulatory agencies. Army officials estimated that the initial
                       cost-reduction initiatives, which are in various stages of assessment, could
                       potentially reduce program costs by $673 million. The Army plans to
                       identify additional cost-reductions as the stockpile program progresses.


                       Recognizing the difficulty of resolving the public concerns associated with
Alternatives to the    each individual disposal location, suggestions have been made to change
Army’s Basic           the programs’ basic approach to destruction. For example, members of the
Approach to            Congress and officials from environmental groups and affected states and
                       counties have suggested deferring plans for additional disposal facilities
Destruction            until an acceptable alternative technology to incineration is developed.

                       14
                        The designation transferred management responsibility to the Assistant Secretary of the Army
                       (Research, Development, and Acquisition) and required the program manager to develop a cost and
                       schedule baseline and prepare quarterly and annual reports on variances from the baseline.



                       Page 9                                                                     GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                           Congressional members have also suggested consolidating disposal
                           operations at a national or regional sites. In addition, officials of various
                           DOD organizations have suggested destroying selected nonstockpile
                           chemical warfare materiel in stockpile disposal facilities, establishing a
                           centralized disposal facility for nonstockpile materiel, and modifying laws
                           and regulations to standardize environmental requirements.


Deferring Incineration     Deferring disposal operations may eliminate much of the public concern
Until an Acceptable        that has influenced the current approach to destroying the chemical
Alternative Is Developed   stockpile. According to Army officials, alternative technologies may not
                           reduce costs or shorten disposal operations but are likely to be acceptable
                           to a larger segment of the public than incineration. Given the current
                           status of alternative technologies, the cost and schedule would remain
                           uncertain and there would be a corresponding increase in the risk of an
                           accident from continued storage of the munitions. Although the Army has
                           been researching technological alternatives to incineration for chemical
                           agents stored in bulk containers, only recently have research and testing
                           demonstrated potentially effective alternatives. Currently, there is no
                           proven alternative technology to incineration capable of safely and
                           effectively destroying assembled chemical munitions.


Consolidating Disposal     Consolidating disposal operations could reduce construction and
Operations at a National   procurement costs, but the required transportation of chemical munitions
Site or Regional Sites     could be an insurmountable barrier. This option would extend the disposal
                           schedule and result in increased risk not only from storage but also from
                           handling and transportation. Although consolidating disposal operations
                           could reduce estimated facility construction and operation costs by as
                           much as $2.6 billion, the savings would be reduced by uncertain but
                           potentially significant transportation and emergency preparedness costs.
                           To help reduce costs, the Army would have to consolidate three or more
                           stockpile sites, develop less expensive transportation containers, and
                           control emergency response costs. In 1988, the Army and many in the
                           Congress rejected transporting the chemical stockpile weapons to a
                           national site or regional disposal sites because of the increased risk to the
                           public and the environment from moving the munitions. DOD and Army
                           officials continue to be concerned about the safety of moving chemical
                           weapons and public opposition to transportation of the munitions has
                           grown since 1988.




                           Page 10                                                    GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Destroying Selected        Using the chemical stockpile facilities to destroy nonstockpile chemical
Nonstockpile Materiel in   materiel has the potential for reducing costs. Although selected
Stockpile Facilities       nonstockpile items could be destroyed in stockpile disposal facilities, the
                           1986 DOD Authorization Act, and subsequent legislation, specifies that the
                           chemical stockpile disposal facilities may not be used for any purpose
                           other than the disposal of stockpile weapons. This legislative provision, in
                           some cases, necessitates that the Army implement separate disposal
                           operations for nonstockpile materiel along side of the stockpile facilities.
                           In its 1995 implementation plan, the Army suggested that the stockpile
                           disposal facilities could be used to process some nonstockpile weapons,
                           depending on the location, the type of chemical weapon or materiel, and
                           condition.15


Destroying Nonstockpile    Another method for destroying nonstockpile chemical materiel could be
Materiel in a Central      based on the use of a central disposal facility with equipment designed
Facility                   specifically for destroying nonstockpile materiel. Although a national
                           disposal facility could reduce program costs, the legislative restrictions on
                           the transportation of nonstockpile chemical material and the prevalent
                           public attitude that such a disposal facility should not be located in their
                           vicinity would be significant obstacles that would have to be resolved.


Modifying Laws and         Modifying laws and regulations to standardize environmental requirements
Regulations                could enhance both the stockpile and nonstockpile programs’ stability and
                           control costs. The current process of individual states establishing their
                           own environmental laws and requirements and the prevalent public
                           attitude that the Army’s disposal facilities should not be located in their
                           vicinity have been obstacles to the stockpile disposal program and are also
                           likely to affect the nonstockpile program. For example, individual state
                           environmental requirements differ, such as the number of required trail
                           burns, and are occasionally changed. As a result, there are no standard
                           environmental procedures and requirements for stockpile and
                           nonstockpile disposal sites. According to the Army, establishing
                           standardized environmental requirements for all disposal sites would
                           enhance the programs’ stability. However, efforts to modify existing laws
                           and regulations to standardize the environmental requirements for
                           chemical weapons disposal would likely be resisted by the affected states
                           and localities and environmental organizations.



                           15
                            Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program Implementation Plan, U.S. Army Program Manager for
                           Chemical Demilitarization (Aug. 1995).



                           Page 11                                                                  GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
              In summary, implementation of the disposal programs has been slowed
Conclusions   due to the lack of consensus among DOD and the affected states and
              localities over the process to dispose of chemical munitions and materiel.
              Recognizing the difficulty of satisfactorily resolving the public concerns
              with the disposal of chemical munitions, suggestions have been made by
              members of the Congress, DOD officials, and others to change the Army’s
              basic approach to destruction. However, these suggestions create
              trade-offs for decisionmakers and would require changes in legal
              requirements. While our February report presented these suggestions, we
              did not take a position on them or the Army’s current approach given the
              associated policy and legislative implications. Rather, our report presented
              the suggestions in context of the trade-offs they present and noted that
              should the Congress decide to consider modifications or alternatives to
              the current approach, it may wish to consider the suggestions related to
              the creation of alternative technologies, consolidation of stockpile
              disposal operations, utilization of stockpile facilities for nonstockpile
              items, centralization of nonstockpile destruction, and standardization of
              environmental laws and requirements.

              In commenting on these suggestions, DOD said that it favored the Congress
              considering the ones to establish a centralized disposal facility for
              nonstockpile materiel and to modify laws and regulations to standardize
              environmental requirements for chemical weapons disposal. DOD
              recommended against consideration of the options to defer incineration
              plans, consolidate disposal operations, and to use stockpile facilities for
              destroying nonstockpile items.

              In addition, we believe that high-level management attention is needed to
              reach agreement on a long-term management structure for CSEPP that
              clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of Army and FEMA personnel.


              This concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to answer
              any questions that you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.




              Page 12                                                   GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Page 13   GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix I

Appropriation, Obligation, and
Disbursement Data for Fiscal Years 1988
Through 1997
                                         The following tables show appropriation, obligation, and disbursement
                                         data for the disposal programs. Funding data for the Chemical Stockpile
                                         Disposal Program, Alternative Technology and Approaches Project, and
                                         Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Project are shown in
                                         tables I.1, I.2, and I.3, respectively. Funding data for the Nonstockpile
                                         Chemical Materiel Program are shown in table I.4.

Table I.1: Chemical Stockpile Disposal
Program                                  Dollars in millions
                                         Fiscal year                              Appropriated   Obligated   Disbursed
                                         1988                                           $195.8      $194.3      $192.9
                                         1989                                            168.0       165.5       165.4
                                         1990                                            210.4       208.2       205.9
                                         1991                                            255.0       252.3       251.5
                                         1992                                            331.3       330.1       326.8
                                         1993                                            419.1       417.9       316.0
                                         1994                                            249.1       246.7       234.9
                                         1995                                            486.5       472.2       279.2
                                         1996                                            484.2       346.0       130.5
                                         1997                                            534.7
                                         Total                                        $3,334.1    $2,633.2    $2,103.1

Table I.2: Alternative Technology and
Approaches Project                       Dollars in millions
                                         Fiscal year                              Appropriated   Obligated   Disbursed
                                         1994                                            $22.4       $22.2       $10.2
                                         1995                                              9.4         9.4           6.8
                                         1996                                             22.2        19.6        12.2
                                         1997                                             56.0
                                         Total                                          $110.0       $51.2       $29.2




                                         Page 14                                                   GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                                   Appendix I
                                   Appropriation, Obligation, and
                                   Disbursement Data for Fiscal Years 1988
                                   Through 1997




Table I.3: Chemical Stockpile
Emergency Preparedness Project     Dollars in millions
                                   Fiscal year                                         Appropriated     Obligated   Disbursed
                                   1988                                                          $2.5        $2.5        $2.5
                                   1989                                                          11.3        11.3        11.1
                                   1990                                                          43.8        43.7        43.3
                                   1991                                                          37.7        37.6        37.5
                                   1992                                                          40.9        40.5        40.0
                                   1993                                                          88.2        87.5        62.1
                                   1994                                                          71.9        71.6        65.5
                                   1995                                                          56.5        56.4        27.6
                                   1996                                                          80.0        65.2        27.3
                                   1997                                                          82.4
                                   Total                                                      $515.2       $416.3      $316.9

Table I.4: Nonstockpile Chemical
Materiel Program                   Dollars in millions
                                   Fiscal year                                         Appropriated     Obligated   Disbursed
                                   1992                                                          $2.2        $2.2        $2.2
                                   1993                                                           6.3         6.3         6.0
                                   1994                                                          31.5        31.2        26.4
                                   1995                                                          26.0        25.8        18.5
                                   1996                                                          69.7        40.4        14.6
                                   1997                                                          85.3
                                   Total                                                      $221.0       $105.9       $67.7
                                   Source: The Army’s Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization.




                                   Page 15                                                                GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix II

Estimated Program Cost for Fiscal Years
1998 Through 2005


               Dollars in millions
                                                                                  Chemical
                                          Chemical      Alternative               Stockpile        Nonstockpile
                                          Stockpile Technology and              Emergency             Chemical
                                          Disposal     Approaches             Preparedness             Materiel
               Fiscal year                 Program          Project                 Project           Program
               1998                         $946.8                 $16.0                $94.4               $71.7
               1999                          960.9                  30.5                  66.6              174.1
               2000                          842.2                  19.0                  74.0              112.2
               2001                          700.2                  15.0                  71.3              154.4
               2002                         1,644.8                 88.3                  69.5              166.5
               2003                          866.2                                        66.2              101.7
               2004                          938.9                                        60.8              101.8
               2005                          235.8                                                            55.2
                      a
               Total                       $7,135.8              $168.8                $502.8              $937.6
               Note: Then-year dollars.
               a
                 Totals do not add to the Army’s estimated funding to complete the programs because (1) the
               estimates were developed at different times and based on different assumptions and (2) the table
               does not reflect total costs for the nonstockpile program, which is estimated to continue through
               2033.

               Source: DOD’s Selected Acquisition Report (June 30, 1996).




               Page 16                                                                     GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix III

The U.S. Stockpile of Chemical Agents and
Munitions


     Umatilla Depot Activity,
             Oregon

     Number of items: 220,599
       Tons of agent: 3,717

                                                                                                       Newport Chemical Activity,
                                                                                                                Indiana

                                                                                                          Number of items: 1,690
                                                                                                            Tons of agent: 1,269




                                                                                                                                     Aberdeen Proving Ground,
                                                                                                                                            Maryland

                                                                                                                                        Number of items: 1,818
                                                                                                                                          Tons of agent: 1,625


                                                                                                                                     Blue Grass Army Depot,
                                                                                                                                            Kentucky
    Tooele Army Depot,
           Utah                                                                                                                       Number of items: 101,764
                                                                                                                                        Tons of agent: 523
  Number of items: 1,138,488
    Tons of agent: 13,616                                                                                                    Anniston Army Depot,
                                 Pueblo Depot Activity,                                                                            Alabama
                                       Colorado
                                                                                                                            Number of items: 661,529
                                Number of items: 780,078                                                                      Tons of agent: 2,254
                                  Tons of agent: 2,611
       Hawaii                                                                           Pine Bluff Arsenal,
                                                                                            Arkansas

                                                                                      Number of items: 123,093
                                                                                        Tons of agent: 3,850
                    Johnston Atoll,
                     Pacific Ocean

                Number of items: 292,121
                  Tons of agent: 1,134




                                                           Note: As of December 15, 1995.

                                                           Source: DOD.




                                                           Page 17                                                                          GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix IV

Storage Locations of Nonstockpile Chemical
Warfare Materiel


                                     Fort Richardson,
                                          Alaska
                                Recovered chemical weapons




                                                   Dugway Proving Ground,                  Rock Mountain Arsenal,
        Umatilla Depot Activity,
                                                             Utah                                  Colorado
                Oregon
                                                  Recovered chemical weapons                Former production facility
        Binary chemical weapons
                                                 Miscellaneous chemical materiel          Recovered chemical weapons
     Miscellaneous chemical materiel



                                                                                                            Newport Chemical Activity,
                                                                                                                      Indiana
                                                                                                             Former production facilities




                                                                                                                                              Aberdeen Proving Ground,
                                                                                                                                                        Maryland
                                                                                                                                                Binary chemical weapons
                                                                                                                                               Former production facilities
                                                                                                                                             Miscellaneous chemical materiel
                                                                                                                                              Recovered chemical weapons

                                                                                                                                               Blue Grass Army Depot,
                                                                                                                                                      Kentucky
       Tooele Army Depot,
                                                                                                                                            Miscellaneous chemical materiel
               Utah
     Binary chemical weapons                                                                                                          Redstone Arsenal,
  Miscellaneous chemical materiel                                                                                                          Alabama
   Recovered chemical weapons                                                                                                     Recovered chemical weapons

                                                                                                                                      Anniston Army Depot,
                                                                                                                                             Alabama
                              Pueblo Depot Activity,
                                                                                                                                  Miscellaneous chemical materiel
                                     Colorado
                           Miscellaneous chemical materiel
       Hawaii                                                                               Pine Bluff Arsenal,
                            Recovered chemical weapons
                                                         Camp Bullis,                            Arkansas
                                                            Texas                        Binary chemical weapons
                                                  Recovered chemical weapons            Former production facilities
                                                                                      Miscellaneous chemical materiel
                     Johnston Atoll,                                                   Recovered chemical weapons
                      Pacific Ocean
                Recovered chemical weapons




                                                             Source: Based on 1996 data provided by the Army’s Project Manager for Nonstockpile Chemical
                                                             Materiel.




                                                             Page 18                                                                                GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix V

Chronology of the U.S. Chemical
Demilitarization Program


Time frame   Activity
1917-1960s   Obsolete or unserviceable chemical warfare agents and munitions were disposed of by open pit
             burning, land burial, and ocean dumping.
1969         The National Academy of Sciences recommended that ocean dumping be avoided and that public
             health and environmental protection be emphasized. It suggested two alternatives to ocean disposal:
             chemical neutralization of nerve agents and incineration of mustard agents.
1970         The Armed Forces Authorization Act (P.L. 91-441) required a Department of Health and Human Services
             review of any disposal plans and detoxification of weapons prior to disposal. It also limited the
             movement of chemical weapons.
1971         The Foreign Military Sales Act prohibited the transportation of U.S. chemical weapons from Okinawa,
             Japan, to the continental United States. The weapons were moved to Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.
1971-1973    The Army tested and developed an incineration process and disposed of several thousand tons of
             mustard agent stored in ton containers at Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
1973-1976    The Army disposed of nearly 4,200 tons of nerve agent by chemical neutralization at Tooele Army Depot
             and Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The process was problematic and not very reproducible, making
             automation difficult.
1979         The Army opened the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System at Tooele to test and evaluate
             disposal equipment and processes for chemical agents and munitions on a pilot scale.
1981         The Army decided to build the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System to dispose of its
             chemical M55 rocket stockpile.
1981-1986    The Army used the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System to test and evaluate incineration of
             chemical agents and energetic materiel, and decontamination of metal parts and ton containers.
1982         An Arthur D. Little Corporation study for the Army concluded that using incineration, rather than
             neutralization, to dispose of the stockpile would reduce costs.
1982         The Army declared its stockpile of M55 rockets obsolete.
1983         The Army expanded its chemical disposal program to include the M55 rocket stockpile at Anniston
             Army Depot, Umatilla Depot Activity, and Blue Grass Army Depot.
1984         The Army expanded its chemical disposal program to include the M55 rocket stockpile at Pine Bluff
             Arsenal and Tooele Army Depot.
1984         The National Research Council endorsed the Army’s disassembly and high-temperature incineration
             process for disposing of chemical agents and munitions. It also recommended that the Army continue to
             store most of the chemical stockpile, dispose of the M55 rockets, and analyze alternative methods for
             disposing of the remaining chemical stockpile.
1985         The Army began construction of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System.
1985         The DOD Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1986 (P.L. 99-145) mandated the destruction of the U.S.
             stockpile of lethal chemical agents and munitions. It also required that the disposal facilities be cleaned,
             dismantled, and disposed of according to applicable laws and regulations.
1986         The DOD Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1987 (P.L. 99-500) prohibited shipments of chemical
             weapons, components, or agents to the Blue Grass Depot Activity for any purpose.
1987         Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System operations were suspended as a result of a low-level nerve
             agent release.
1988         The Army issued the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Chemical Stockpile
             Disposal Program. The Army selected on-site disposal of the chemical stockpile because it posed fewer
             potential risks than transportation and off-site disposal.
                                                                                                             (continued)




                            Page 19                                                                GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                            Appendix V
                            Chronology of the U.S. Chemical
                            Demilitarization Program




Time frame   Activity
1988         The National Defense Act of Fiscal Year 1989 (P.L. 100-456) required the Army to complete operational
             verification testing at Johnston Atoll before beginning to systematize similar disposal facilities in the
             continental United States.
1989         The Army started construction of the chemical demilitarization facility at Tooele Army Depot.
1990         The Army completed the successful retrograde of all chemical munitions stored in Germany to storage
             facilities at Johnston Atoll.
1990         The Army initiated disposal of M55 rockets at Johnston Atoll.
1990         A very small amount of nerve agent leaked through the common stack during maintenance activities at
             Johnston Atoll. The agent release was below allowable stack concentration.
1990-1993    The Army completed four operational verification tests at the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal
             System. During the test, the Army destroyed more than 40,000 munitions containing nerve and mustard
             agents. In August 1993, the Secretary of Defense certified to the Congress that the Army has
             successfully completed the operational verification tests at Johnston Atoll.
1991         The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (P.L. 101-510) restricted the use of funds to
             transport chemical weapons to Johnston Atoll except for U.S. munitions discovered in the Pacific,
             prohibited the Army from studying the movement of chemical munitions, and established the emergency
             preparedness program.
1991         The Army moved 109 World War II mustard-filled projectiles from the Solomon Islands to Johnston Atoll
             for storage and disposal.
1991         The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (P.L. 102-190) required the
             Secretary of Defense to develop a chemical weapons stockpile safety contingency plan.
1992         The U.S. Army Chemical Materiel Destruction Agency was established to consolidate operational
             responsibility for the destruction of chemical warfare capabilities into one office.
1992         The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (P.L. 102-484) directed the Army to
             establish citizens’ commissions for states with storage sites, if the state’s governor requested one. It also
             required the Army to report on (1) disposal alternatives to the baseline incineration method and (2) plans
             for destroying U.S. nonstockpile chemical weapons and materiel identified in the Chemical Weapons
             Convention.
1993         The Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System was shut down during operation and verification
             tests when residue explosive material generated during the processing of M60 105mm projectiles
             caught fire, causing damage to a conveyor belt and other equipment in the explosive containment room.
1993         The Army completed construction and started systemization of the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal
             Facility.
1993         The Army issued its report on the physical and chemical integrity of the chemical stockpile to the
             Congress.
1993         A mustard leak from a ton container was discovered at Tooele Army Depot.
1993         The Army issued an interim survey and analysis report on the Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program
             to the Congress.
1994         Approximately 11.6 milligrams of nerve agent were released into the atmosphere at the Johnston Atoll
             during a maintenance activity on the liquid incinerator.
1994         The National Research Council issued its recommendations for the disposal of chemical agents and
             munitions to the Army.
1994         The Army issued its alternative demilitarization technology report to the Congress. The Army
             recommended the continuation of the chemical demilitarization program without deliberate delay and
             the implementation of a two-technology research and development program.
                                                                                                              (continued)




                            Page 20                                                                 GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                            Appendix V
                            Chronology of the U.S. Chemical
                            Demilitarization Program




Time frame   Activity
1994         The Army issued it M55 rocket stability report to the Congress. The report recommended that an
             enhanced stockpile assessment program be initiated to better characterize the state of the M55 rocket
             in the stockpile.
1994         The Army initiated the Alternative Technology Project to develop an alternative disposal technology to
             the baseline incineration process for the bulk-only stockpile locations in Maryland and Indiana. This
             research and development effort is conducted in conjunction with activities to implement the baseline
             program.
1994         The U.S. Army Chemical Materiel Destruction Agency was redesignated the U.S. Army Chemical
             Demilitarization and Remediation Activity after a merger with the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological
             Defense Command. In addition, the Army restructured and centralized its chemical stockpile
             emergency preparedness program to streamline procedures, enhance responsiveness of operations,
             and improve the budgeting process.
1994         The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and Acquisition became the DOD
             Executive Agent for the Chemical Demilitarization Program, replacing the Assistant Secretary of the
             Army for Installations, Logistics, and Environment. The Chemical Demilitarization Program was
             designated a DOD Acquisition Category 1D Program.
1995         The Army initiated the Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance Program to investigate, develop, and support
             methods to improve monitoring and inspection of chemical munitions.
1995         The U.S. Army Chemical Demilitarization and Remediation Activity was renamed the Program Manager
             for Chemical Demilitarization.
1995         The Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System surpassed the 1-million pounds target and
             completed the disposal of all M55 rockets stored on Johnston Atoll. Disposal rates exceeded
             established goals.
1995         A perimeter monitor located about 100 yards from the demilitarization building at Johnston Atoll
             detected a trace level of nerve agent. The source of the leak was identified as a door gasket in the air
             filtration system. Temporary air locks were erected and the gasket replaced. No one was harmed from
             this event.
1995         The Army awarded the contract for small burial sites and issued its implementation plan for the
             nonstockpile program.
1995         The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility completed equipment systemization testing.
1995         The Army certified to the Congress that all Browder Amendment requirements for the award of the
             Anniston construction contract were met.
1996         The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (P.L. 104-106) directed DOD to conduct an
             assessment of the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program and options that could be taken to reduce
             program costs.
1996         The Army completed disposal of all Air Force and Navy bombs stored on Johnston Atoll ahead of
             schedule.
1996         The Army awarded the systems contract for the construction, operation, and closure of the proposed
             Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Construction of the facility is scheduled to begin after the
             state of Alabama issues the environmental permits.
1996         The Army started disposal operations at the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Shortly after the
             start, operations were shut down for a week after a small amount of agent was detected in a sealed
             vestibule attached to the air filtration system. No agent was released to the environment and no one was
             harmed.
1996         Several hair line cracks were discovered in the concrete floor of the Tooele disposal facility’s
             decontamination area. The cracks caused a small amount of decontamination solution to leak to a
             electrical room below. No agent was detected and the cracks were sealed.
                                                                                                            (continued)



                            Page 21                                                               GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
                            Appendix V
                            Chronology of the U.S. Chemical
                            Demilitarization Program




Time frame   Activity
1996         The 1997 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 104-201) directed DOD to conduct an assessment of
             alternative technologies for the disposal of assembled chemical munitions. The act also directed the
             Secretary of Defense to report on this assessment by December 31, 1997.
1996         The 1997 DOD Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-208) provided the Army $40 million to conduct a pilot
             program to identify and demonstrate two or more alternatives to the baseline incineration process for the
             disposal of assembled chemical munitions. The act also prohibited DOD from obligating any funds for
             constructing disposal facilities at Blue Grass and Pueblo until 180 days after the Secretary reports on
             the alternatives.
1996         The Chemical Weapons Convention was ratified by the 65th country needed to make the convention
             effective. As a result, the convention will go into effect April 29, 1997. Through ratification, the United
             States will agree to dispose of its (1) unitary chemical weapons stockpile, binary chemical weapons,
             recovered chemical weapons, and former chemical weapon production facilities by April 29, 2007, and
             (2) miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel by April 29, 2002.




                            Page 22                                                                GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix VI

Related GAO Products


              Chemical Weapons and Materiel: Key Factors Affecting Disposal Costs and
              Schedule (GAO/NSIAD-97-18, Feb. 10, 1997).

              Chemical Weapons Stockpile: Emergency Preparedness in Alabama Is
              Hampered by Management Weaknesses (GAO/NSIAD-96-150, July 23, 1996).

              Chemical Weapons Disposal: Issues Related to DOD’s Management
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-185, July 13, 1995).

              Chemical Weapons: Army’s Emergency Preparedness Program Has
              Financial Management Weaknesses (GAO/NSIAD-95-94, Mar. 15, 1995).

              Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program Review (GAO/NSIAD-95-66R, Jan. 12,
              1995).

              Chemical Weapons: Stability of the U.S. Stockpile (GAO/NSIAD-95-67, Dec. 22,
              1994).

              Chemical Weapons Disposal: Plans for Nonstockpile Chemical Warfare
              Materiel Can Be Improved (GAO/NSIAD-95-55, Dec. 20, 1994).

              Chemical Weapons: Issues Involving Destruction Technologies
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-159, Apr. 26, 1994).

              Chemical Weapons Destruction: Advantages and Disadvantages of
              Alternatives to Incineration (GAO/NSIAD-94-123, Mar. 18, 1994).

              Arms Control: Status of U.S.-Russian Agreements and the Chemical
              Weapons Convention (GAO/NSIAD-94-136, Mar. 15, 1994).

              Chemical Weapon Stockpile: Army’s Emergency Preparedness Program
              Has Been Slow to Achieve Results (GAO/NSIAD-94-91, Feb. 22, 1994).

              Chemical Weapons Storage: Communities Are Not Prepared to Respond to
              Emergencies (GAO/T-NSIAD-93-18, July 16, 1993).

              Chemical Weapons Destruction: Issues Affecting Program Cost, Schedule,
              and Performance (GAO/NSIAD-93-50, Jan. 21, 1993). Chemical Weapons
              Destruction: Issues Related to Environmental Permitting and Testing
              Experience (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-43, June 16, 1992).

              Chemical Weapons Disposal (GAO/NSIAD-92-219R, May 14, 1992).



              Page 23                                                    GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix VI
Related GAO Products




Chemical Weapons: Stockpile Destruction Cost Growth and Schedule
Slippages Are Likely to Continue (GAO/NSIAD-92-18, Nov. 20, 1991).

Chemical Warfare: DOD’s Effort to Remove U.S. Chemical Weapons From
Germany (GAO/NSIAD-91-105, Feb. 13, 1991).




Page 24                                               GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
Appendix VII

Potential Locations With Buried Chemical
Warfare Materiel




                                                                                                            Virgin Islands -six potential locations.


           Locations with potential buried chemical warfare materiel that may require remediation.




                                                Source: Based on 1996 data provided by the Army’s Project Manager for Nonstockpile Chemical
                                                Materiel.




(709248)                                        Page 25                                                                     GAO/T-NSIAD-97-118
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